“You are never too old to set a new goal or to dream a new dream.” – C.S. Lewis

New Year’s Eve 1999 came around all too soon, bringing her closer to her new life.

goals 1.jpg

Three months ago she had set herself four life-changing goals.

  1. Lose weight
  2. Finish book
  3. Quit job
  4. Move to Portugal

She was pleased with herself, she had achieved three out of four of them in such a short space of time, even if Stephen King reckoned he could rattle off the whole shebang in a mere three months; she might have a journalistic background, but she was a virgin novelist.  She had given in her notice at the end of October so number four on her list would be achieved on 1st February 2000, the date she had booked her crossing to Santander.  She was proud of herself.  Finally, she would be out of the self-dug rut, she had been in for too long.

She arrived at Emma’s during the early afternoon to help with the preparation for the party.

‘You look absolutely great Trish!’ She said, giving her oldest and best friend a hug. ‘And you’ve lost so much weight! How did you manage that over Christmas? Most of us put on pounds, not lose it.’

‘Ahhh, I’ve started jogging again, every day since I last saw you in fact.’

‘How’s the book coming along?

‘It’s done. It’s finished! The story was already there in those dog-eared, coffee-stained manuscripts I bought back with me from London. Two weeks off over Christmas and I’ve finished re-writing it with the sagely wisdom and worldly-wise take of forty-year-old. I’ve started sending it out and about, with no great expectations. It was a therapeutic process for me and I’ve loved every minute of it. By the way …’ Her arm disappeared shoulder deep into her Mary Poppins-type bag and dragged out a manuscript. ‘Happy New Year Em, I really want you to read it, more than anybody else in fact. Here you are, your very own copy, keep it somewhere safe.’

‘I’d be pretty pissed off if you didn’t want me to read it! Thank you so much. And don’t worry, I’ll keep it safe in my knickers drawer. I’ll go upstairs now and put it in there before people start arriving. Tom is dying to read it by the way. He’s hoping he might be included in the Dramatis personæ … as are we all.’ Trish rolled her eyes.

‘But you all know it’s a work of fiction!’

‘Mmm, that’s what they all say. Anyway, Tom will be here tonight … Kate-less and fancy-free.’ She called breathlessly over her shoulder whilst running up the stairs.

‘Oh? And why is that then?’

‘Apparently, Kate doesn’t like fireworks and the children aren’t coming either.’

‘I see …’ Trish said, although she didn’t, thinking she’s always been a selfish cow. Why on earth would Katie be so bah humbug on Millennium Eve? It only happens every thousand years for God’s sake. And why would she let Tom come on his own as well as deprive their ginger-haired twins of a firework display?

She hadn’t seen Tom for 18 years and already her heart had begun to pound.

More from the Outtakes Collection …

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